Funding expanded to protect places of worship from hate crime
Bidding has opened for places of worship to access £1 million to improve security and prevent hate crime.
The Home Office announced on Friday (June 8) that it is providing the additional funds to help secure churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras and other religious venues if they have been subjected to or could be vulnerable to hate crime attacks.
Successful applicants in England and Wales will receive up to £56,000. The criteria for funding has been made more flexible with bidders only having to provide evidence that they are either vulnerable to hate crime or have been subject to a hate crime within the last two years.
Previous funding has been awarded when places of worship have been either victim to, or at risk of, a hate attack, including graffiti, the defacing of religious symbols or attacks on worshippers.
The Places of Worship Security Funding scheme launched in 2016 and has so far helped 89 venues install protective alarms, security lighting and CCTV cameras.
The scheme is worth £2.4 million in total.
Synagogues are covered under a separate scheme administered by the Community Security Trust.
Minister for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams said: “Communities being able to worship their religion free from intimidation, violence or abusive behaviour is a vital principle at the heart of the values we share in this country.
“This scheme has already helped many places of worship bolster their security and we encourage those who have suffered from or fear hate crime attacks to apply.”
Prime Minister Theresa May added: “We are a country of many faiths, and as I said following last year’s appalling terror attack in Finsbury Park an attack on one community is an attack on all of us.
“Freedom of worship, respect, and tolerance for those of different faiths is fundamental to our values and I am determined to stamp out extremism and hate crime wherever it occurs.
“Security at places of worship is important to provide congregations with peace of mind, but let me be clear – where groups or individuals incite hatred or are engaged in vile, religiously motivated criminal activity, they should expect to be prosecuted and face the full force of the law.”
Hate crimes for the purpose of the scheme are defined as any crimes committed against a person because of their real or perceived religion.